While Bedford’s population is only slightly over 13,000, the number of retail businesses is on par with a much larger town. Bedford has 2 Full Size Grocery Stores while other towns such as Lexington which has over 30K, has only 1 supermarket (although there are several just over the border). Bedford also had 3 different TJX Department Stores (Marshall’s, TJ Maxx and HomeGoods). Only 2 other much larger towns in Eastern Massachusetts (Framingham and Braintree) share this distinction. In addition to larger stores, Bedford also has a very diverse set of smaller shops.
These numbers are very large. The reason for this is two fold:
1. The large number of people who work in Bedford (the population of Bedford increases significantly during the day).
2. A lot of people drive through Bedford on their way to and from work.
This leads to a more diverse set of retail businesses. The vacancy rate for retail in Bedford is lower than other nearby communities.
Bedford also has a wide variety of space including lower cost smaller spaces that makes it more compelling for people looking to start businesses. In talking with many of these small businesses, the low rental rates have been a major factor in getting them to open up their first retail business.